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A National Program for Injury Prevention in Children and Adolescents: The Injury Free Coalition for Kids

Joyce C. Pressley, Barbara Barlow, Maureen Durkin, Sally A. Jacko, DiLenny Roca Dominguez, and Lenita Johnson

Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, Vol. 82, No. 3

Abstract: Injury is the leading cause of death and a major source of preventable disability in children. Mechanisms of injury are rooted in a complex web of social, economic, environmental, criminal, and behavioral factors that necessitate a multifaceted, systematic injury prevention approach. This article describes the injury burden and the way physicians, community coalitions, and a private foundation teamed to impact the problem first in an urban minority community and then through a national program. Through our injury prevention work in a resource-limited neighborhood, a national model evolved that provides a systematic framework through which education and other interventions are implemented. Interventions are aimed at changing the community and home environments physically (safe play areas and elimination of community and home hazards) and socially (education and supervised extracurricular activities with mentors). This program, based on physician–community partnerships and private foundation financial support, expanded to 40 sites in 37 cities, representing all 10 US trauma regions. Each site is a local adaptation of the Injury Free Coalition model also referred to as the ABC’s of injury prevention: A, “analyze injury data through local injury surveillance”; B, “build a local coalition”; C, “communicate the problem and raise awareness that injuries are a preventable public health problem”; D, “develop interventions and injury prevention activities to create safer environments and activities for children”; and E, “evaluate the interventions with ongoing surveillance.” It is feasible to develop a comprehensive injury prevention program of national scope using a voluntary coalition of trauma centers, private foundation financial and technical support, and a local injury prevention model with a well-established record of reducing and sustaining lower injury rates for inner-city children and adolescents.

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Lenita Johnson

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